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Murder your darlings

My family have not always supported me as a writer. But my relationship with my novelist daughter Kiran is peaceful compared to those described in a new book

By Anita Desai   February 2012

WB Yeats and his wife George in 1923: she bought him a tower in which to write and tolerated his mistresses

Colm Tóibín’s new book is called New Ways to Kill Your Mother: Writers and their Families (Penguin) but the key is in the subtitle. This collection of essays is by no means restricted to mothers. It is the entire family that needs to be destroyed, it seems, if an artist is to realise his vision.

In India that has been the tradition through the ages. The soul demands the abandonment of family and society in order to achieve another…

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